UN mission in Democratic Republic of Congo questioned

La Prensa (27 August) published an article about the gang rape of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) several weeks ago. Special Representative for the DRC Roger A. Meece confirmed that 150 women were raped during a four day attack by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a group of ethnic Hutu fighters. The UN peacekeeping force MONUSCO was only informed about the attack 10 days later.

According to the NGO International Medical Corps (IMC) the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda occupied the village of Luvungi on 30 July. The attack took place only 30 kilometers from where the UN peacekeeping mission is stationed.


UN launches global action plan against human trafficking

La Prensa (31 August) states that last Tuesday the UN General Assembly launched a global action plan to combat human trafficking. The UN considers human trafficking to be a modern form of slavery which affects millions of people all over the world, especially women and children. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the member states to renew their commitment and put a stop to this modern form of slavery.


UNESCO – Central American countries need to invest more in education

La Prensa (1 September) states that Panama is not investing enough in education according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Countries are recommended to invest 6% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in education. Panama, however, invested 4.5% in 2009 and a similar percentage in 2010. In Central America only Costa Rica invested the amount recommended by UNESCO. Mirna de Crespo, vice-minister of education, assured that the Panamanian government is investing more in education in order to achieve the goal set by UNESCO.


UN International Day against Nuclear Testing

La Prensa (27 August) reports on the first International Day against Nuclear Testing. Last Thursday, while visiting Kazakhstan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all Member States that have not yet done so to ratify the treaty banning nuclear tests. Two days later, on 29 August, the first International Day against Nuclear Testing was celebrated. This date was chosen by the UN as on 29 August 1991 the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, issued a degree permanently closing the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.


Pakistani Taliban warn against international help

La Estrella (27 August) states that the Taliban in Pakistan warned against international help, which is unacceptable for them. The United Nation, however, does not allow itself to get intimidated.


Iran has enough uranium for nuclear weapons

La Estrella (27 August) published an article about the nuclear threat of Iran. According to former International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards Chief Olli Heinonen, Iran has enough uranium for one or two nuclear weapons. The former chief, however, does not think Iran will move ahead with weaponization. “In theory, it is enough to make one or two nuclear arms. But to reach the final step when one only has just enough material for two weapons, does not make sense”, Heinonen said in an interview.

International Day of the Disappeared

La Prensa (30 August) reports on the International Day of the Disappeared, celebrated on 29 August. According to Amnesty International tens of thousands of people all over the world disappeared for political reasons. The total number of cases transmitted by the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances since its inception 30 years ago is 53,232. Of these cases 42,600 have never been clarified. According to a UN report, Iraq leads the ranking with 16,409 cases of enforced disappearances, followed by Sri Lanka (5,651), Argentina (3,290), Algeria (2,912), Guatemala (2,899), Peru (2,371), El Salvador (2,270), Colombia (963), Chile (807) and the Philippines (619). In the top 20 two more Latin American countries can be found: Mexico with 218 cases and Honduras with 127 cases. Amnesty International called upon all states to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.